|Hybrid Learning is Fun for All -- ADAMS Young Muslims Evening School|
|Community News - Community News|
|Written by Christina Tobias-Nahi Muslim Link Contributing Writer|
|Saturday, 10 May 2014 07:11|
Youth get homework and study time and lessons in Qur'an reading and memorization after school at the Young Muslims Evening School (YMES) program at ADAMS. Photos courtesy of Ruhena Choudhury.
A very unique hybrid model for educating Muslim youth exists in our midst and is innovative in its approach.
Because not all families can, or choose to, send their children to full-time Islamic schools for a myriad of reason, is the only option to get access to Arabic and Islamic studies instruction on the weekend? No, now there is an afterschool program catering to youth so that they can improve their Deen every day so their life is not compartmentalized into two halves – public school during the week and Islamic programming and Muslim friends over the weekend. That is the model for the Young Muslim Evening School (YMES) at All Dulles Area Muslim Society(ADAMS) Main Center in Sterling, Virginia.
Now in its third year, YMES currently enrolls around 70 children from 2nd to 10th grades two days a week, Mondays and Wednesdays. The program runs from 5:30-8 pm and the first session of 45 minutes to ease transition is either study hall to complete homework from school that day or what the students prefer – fun, social clubs such as sports, board games, robotics, arts and crafts, and cooking.
This first portion is run by parent volunteers and allows the professionals The curriculum has been designed by Imam AbdurRafaa Ouertani, ADAMS Deputy Imam, and is meant to follow the public school method of being interactive with games and prizes to keep the kids engaged and awake since they have already put in a day of study prior to arriving.
When asked if this day is too long or too tiring, says Saima Syeda, age 12, “No, I want to come. I like to learn together with people like me and the teachers are young. In regular school the teachers give you a funny look if you ask too many questions; here they like if you do ask lots of questions! They also respect if you are tired but not falling asleep!” Her friend, Iliyeen Ahmed, also 12, concurred that the environment and the format are fun and engaging. Indeed it is these middle schoolers that relish the program the most it appears – to have the peer to peer connections during this high pressure time in their lives. So much so that they are loath to leave when they go to High School even though the demands of homework have increased. Says Samiyagh Ahmed, 14, “I am still coming and learning new things. It keeps me motivated. I don’t have a lot of free time but it is worth it.” Like others, she hopes to eventually becoming a teacher helper or volunteer by her Junior or Senior year to stay involved.